The Phoenix Suns have made it quite clear that they are interested in the services of veteran center Erick Dampier. Dampier's agent Dan Fegan has now given us a clear indication that the feeling is mutual. Fegan told the Arizona Republic that the 14-year pro is considering the Suns and names Phoenix as one of the "top teams" on his list. A decision is expected in time for Dampier to be on a team's opening-night roster, which gets set on Monday.
A large part of Dampier's decision probably revolves around his potential playing time with each of the teams he's targeting. In Phoenix, he could join the Suns' second unit which both fills a desperate need for rebounding, but also creates yet another log-jam issue for coach Gentry who is already trying to juggle too few minutes for too many players.
Watching the current group of Frye, Warrick, Childress, Dudley and Dragic play against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, it became very apparent that unit would struggle on the glass this season. The Warriors bench out-rebounded the Suns 32-25 while the entire Suns team was only minus four in that category for the game. Dampier would certainly help keep opposing big men off the boards.
Dampier would also take minutes from somebody in the current 10-man rotation and give an already deep team an even greater challenge when it comes to keeping guys happy by getting them enough playing time. Dampier, never known for his ability to run the floor, would also slow the dynamic bench unit who has shown glimpses of how they can out-work opponents.
The easy answer is to only play Dampier in certain situations where opponents have a significant size advantage and as a back up to Robin Lopez should he go down with injury, but that would also limit his ability to contribute on a regular basis. I am sure Dampier is carefully considering all of these factors in making his decision, along with the conditioning requirements of an up-tempo Suns team.
The Suns currently have 14 players on their roster after cutting Dwayne Jones and Zabian Dowdell on Tuesday. That means that they have room for Dampier without having to waive anyone. Of course, the Suns could decide that young center Garret Siler is expendable.
With the new D-league rules in place, Siler would be assigned to the Phoenix Suns affiliate, Iowa Energy. That assumes, however, that Siler agrees to play another year in the D-league and doesn't take a better paying contract overseas. Even if Siler goes to the Energy, his rights wouldn't be held by Phoenix, so he could get signed by another NBA team.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 10/21/10 12:00 PM MST ]
To update on the D-league status of Siler, Jones, and Dowdell: All would return to their previous D-league teams (Utah, Tulsa, and Austin) because they played for those teams before. If the Suns were to cut Matt Janning, who has never played in the D-league, he would go to the Iowa Energy. The Suns wouldn't hold the rights to any of those guys if they got waived regardless of where they play in the D-league.